Phil Hey, How It Seems To Me: New & Selected Poems. MWPH Books, Fairwater, WI. 2004. $12.50 plus $2.50 s&h.
"These poems are so good, so bready!"
- Gwendolyn Brooks, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
"I have waited a long time for this book by Phil Hey. Fortunately, in the process, I've been privileged to read some of these poems in their unpublished stage. I hesitate to use that old cliche of endorsement writers, "authentic voice," but, by all the Gods of poetry, if this isn't an authentic voice, we're never going to find one. In these poems, Phil Hey offers his unconditional and uncompromising Midwestern sensibility without limiting the work in any way that could be described as 'regional.' I highly recommend this work."
- James Autry author of Love and Profit and Life After Mississippi
"Philip Hey distills thirty-plus years of life in poems that take flight at every moment's crossroad in order to preserve the hard daily lives of men and women who are living scant but like the farmer's wife who buys day lilies with egg money, learn to flower in the midst of such neglect. Often writing with humor, sometimes with irony but always with unflinching directness, Hey builds a scaffolding to carry us through the trials of being human. Entangling us by immersion in sensual particulars, poems in How It Seems to Me show how pleasure is derived from the physical world by a carpenter who cuts red cedar just for the smell of it, or the workman who holds drill bits to the light to admire silver. To counter human isolation, Hey celebrates moments of communion on the back porch with his grandfather to exchange a few last moments with the sun, or sitting at a diner's Chromecraft table immersed in the smell of fried fish. Deeply rooted in place, poems describe the auction of a farm where a whole life is parceled out a dollar at a time, playing pool at Sharkeys, a game of horse with an aging basketball star, and men working in engine shops who take the time to do it right. Hey's poems are messengers of shadow, but also messengers of light when he depicts men surrounded by fuel pumps and carburetors in a used car parts shop as they drink beer and smoke cigars or old men who work concrete, dip snuff and are happy. Showing us that we must Pray for the things of this world, this impressive collection of living, glowing poems teach our hearts to persevere."
- Vivian Shipley author of Gleanings, Winner of the Connecticut Poetry Prize
"These poems bring the ordinary world so thoroughly in accord with the thinking, feeling human mind that it is impossible to tell where one starts and the other ends. Hey respects things in themselves and depicts them with language of perfect simplicity and accuracy. Yet in his hands conversations overheard, places discovered on the road, found objects, and the events of everyday life become gifts and graces, occasions for a finely-tuned emotional and intellectual response and an uncommon depth and wisdom. Like the short-wave radio buff in one of the poems, Hey traverses the subtleties of the bands with an ear of perfect pitch. The result is absolute clarity, no static."
- Jeanne Emmons, author of Rootbound, winner of the Minnesota Voices Award
"Enthusiastically recommended reading, How It Seems To Me is a collection showcasing 76 of Phil Hey's very special poems celebrating hard lives, small joys, and memorable landscapes." - Midwest Book Review
You can read Ann Stapleton's review of How It Seems To Me at New Pages here.